Nats on 62 per cent! Yawn…Of course they are – they’re not a political party but a faith-based movement – the Scottish branch of the Moonies. The Moanies, maybe.
It’s crazy of course, not normal, and needs an unconventional explanation. I know, let’s not bother analysing it, let’s just say they’re all nuts. Oh, and by the way so is Jeremy Corbyn. A stark, raving mad, sultana-laden fruitcake. Must be…eh?
Well the TNS survey does find that the satisfaction figures for key policy areas don’t appear to back up the headline hero worship. If you’re determined to vote for them next May, you’d expect more than a quarter to a third of people to think they’re doing a good job. That must mean they’re not judged on normal criteria, like George Clooney being assessed on acting ability rather than matinee looks.
Or does it? Look at the number who don’t know, don’t have a view or, as Professor Curtice might say, can’t be arsed. More people Don’t Bloody Know than have a view on three out of four policy areas with the finding for the NHS scoring one point higher.
It may not be a ringing endorsement but it seems to me folk not bothering to have a view isn’t much of a concern for the SNP. Voters asked: Are they doing OK on crime? and basically shrugging their shoulders while mumbling ‘suppose so, aye, but no, but’ hardly represents an anti-Nationalist insurgency. Giving a Don’t Know option on such a broad question is like giving a jury a Not Proven verdict to consider…an easy Out.
Ask me, Derek Bateman Voter, if I think the SNP are doing a good job on Health for example and my rant would be…Generally, I think they probably are doing okay and certainly as well as the other lot did and since they’re now so dismal they have no chance of changing anything anyway, right? And while I’d like to see more money going in, where’s it going to come from as budgets are cut? I like having one of the world’s newest and fanciest hospitals just across the river built on time without my grandkids paying for it but I know there are always administration problems and parts of the NHS aren’t brilliant and I do see lots of media reports that are negative and it must be depressing for staff who are already under pressure and God knows what it does to the poor folk actually in for treatment or about to go in and hearing how God-awful it is. Draws breath.
I could more easily just say: ‘Don’t know, mate…I’ve no really thought about it.’
What does appear to be true is that many of those same procrastinators are prepared to back the SNP regardless, presumably because they think that overall and including the specific areas covered, they best represent themselves and the country – a priceless asset once coveted and carefully burnished by Labour. In fact is it so different from a Labour Party which breached its compact with the people over financial regulation, cheap loans and mortgages, union rights and that bloody war and yet still had every single MP returned in Scotland only five years ago with its vote share increased. That was blind faith and loathing of the Tory enemy every bit as much as today’s finding (which still hasn’t been turned into a single vote let alone a seat). So this huge wave of seemingly inexplicable support isn’t totally unique. It’s just happened kind of quickly and overwhelmed us for the time being.
Check those who think the Nats are not doing a good job…the numbers are between 19 and 29 per cent. Yet that is less than the remaining combined non-SNP vote recorded in the poll (38 per cent). That presumably means that a lot of anti-SNP types or Don’t Knows nevertheless are giving the SNP the nod of approval for governance.
Of course if you’re Labour or one of the declining Tories or a Lib Dem Do-do, the wee qualifications about performance in office are sheer bloody luxuries only to be dreamed of. How does it feel to imagine yourself sitting in a chamber where there could be 78 Nats and up to 10 pro-indy Greens…time for counselling.
The Sturgeon manifesto could add another layer of misery to a Labour Party now being buffeted by acrimony over the southern leadership and even propagandists like Brian Wilson are telling them how crap they are. Did I mention council by-elections? We may soon, as Professor Hassan keeps saying, have to be kind to Labour and to No voters or they may vacate the scene altogether – and then what would we do?
We are engulfed in a perfect storm now – threadbare opposition, a powerful, articulate SNP in government here while the real battle looms in the south where they are of course simultaneously in opposition fighting a vicious Tory administration planning to downgrade Scots MPs. This is a Nationalist dream script combining (executive) power with (justifiable) grievance against a backdrop of relentless support. If it all goes wrong, someone wake me up.by